The points transfer rate from Amex to Starwood/Marriott is about to get worse

By |2018-07-05T06:33:37+00:004 July 2018|

With the mega-merger of the Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton hotel groups taking shape, the next big milestone will be the launch of a new unified loyalty program for the conglomerate in August.

The current Starwood and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs will disappear, effectively to be absorbed by Marriott. The unified program will be given a new name in early 2019, but the program changes will start to take effect from an as-yet unspecified date this August.

Starwood has been a points transfer partner for the American Express Membership Rewards program. A number of popular Amex cards earn Membership Rewards points, including the Essential, Explorer, Platinum¬†and Business Explorer cards I’ve reviewed on the blog.

Amex has confirmed that Membership Rewards points will be transferable to the new unified Marriott program from August. However, the bad news is that the transfer rate will be less generous than the current one.

From August (date TBC), 3 Membership Rewards points will be convertible to 2 Marriott points. Right now, the rate is 2 MR points to 1 Starwood point (which equals 3 Marriott points). So, we’re going from a 2:3 rate to a 3:2 rate – that’s a big difference.

If you were planning to use Membership Rewards points for Starwood / Marriott stays, you may want to transfer points to Starwood now at the more attractive rate. From Starwood, you can manually transfer the points to Marriott yourself, otherwise they will transfer automatically when the new program launches in August.

A few days ago, I wrote about an opportunity to get steep discounts on luxury hotel stays thanks to a quirk of how the new program is being implemented. You may also want to consider purchasing Starwood points right now, because a 35% discount is available (this offer ends on 20 July and you must have been a Starwood member for at least 14 days).

Finally, if you hold the Amex Platinum Card, the current benefit of automatic gold status with Starwood will transition to the new Gold Elite tier with Marriott. That’s a downgrade, because you’ll lose complimentary breakfasts and guaranteed 4pm checkout (instead, you get a 2pm checkout “based on availability”.)

We’ll have more news about the changes – including the exact date they take effect – later this month.

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About the Author:

Kris is the founder of The High Life and a complete travel addict. Originally from Perth, he's now based in Melbourne - but he's happiest in the air travelling to somewhere new. In 2018, Kris will be exploring Thailand, southern Europe, the USA and Mexico.


  1. Con 29 July 2018 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Hey Kris great article but unfortunately for me i didnt transfer my AMEX Points to SPG in time and now cant do so until end of next month when part of new program.

    Is there anything i can do to stop me pulling out all my hairs because i missed doing it by a couple of days ?!?!?!

    I have a stack of AMEX points and always use them for SPG properties.


    • Kris Brankovic 29 July 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Hey Con, can’t think of other options I’m afraid. I heard that SPG is no longer accepting points transfers from any partners, pending the new program launch.

  2. Hassan Shah 8 July 2018 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Thanks Kris for your prompt reply.
    I was trying to look for this table.

    Now the points required “mentioned” on the table in this link “”
    is 90,000 for category 7/ new category 8 hotels.
    I believe that this is the new “points” required. for example Al Maha says 90k points required or 1 night stay- this is equal to 30k star points- but one of the articles say that this is will decrease to 60k “new points” equivalent to 20k star points.

    I want to ask if this applies to all the category 7 hotels and resorts- including resorts and spas as well.

    Or I have mis-interpreted something ?

    Hope to see your reply soon

  3. Hassan Shah 8 July 2018 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Hey Kris.
    Thanks for an excellent article.
    Just wanted to ask about the SPG/Marriott merger in Aug.
    1 of the articles said (if i interpreted correctly):
    it says that the category 7 hotels points requirement will decrease, for example cat 7 hotels now at 30-35k points per night will decrease to 20k points per night from Aug-Dec.- is that right or i have mis-interpreted something ?

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